12. The Chairman recalled that, at the meeting in July, the Council had agreed that this matter be taken up in informal consultations. The background to this issue was that the Council had adopted procedures for notifications under Article 63.2 which stated that "as of the time that a Member is obliged to start applying a provision of the TRIPS Agreement, the corresponding laws and regulations shall be notified without delay (normally within 30 days except where otherwise provided by the TRIPS Council)". He said that, since all Members of the WTO had obligations under Articles 3, 4 and 5 of the TRIPS Agreement relating to national and m.f.n. treatment as of 1 January 1996, all Members were already under an obligation to notify the corresponding legislation. However, virtually no notifications had been received except insofar as such notifications had formed part of the comprehensive notifications by developed country Members of their general implementing legislation. At its meetings in May and July, the Council had considered whether there were technical difficulties with meeting this notification requirement and, in July, the United States had put forward a proposal which had been subsequently circulated in document in IP/C/W/31.
13. As agreed in July, he had held consultations on this question. Reporting on these consultations, he said that there had appeared to be a general acceptance that the United States proposal was a helpful attempt to find a way of alleviating what might be a considered a large notification burden. There would also appear to be widespread support for giving the Members concerned a range of options for how to make these notifications in the way best suited to their national circumstances. Three options had in particular been identified:
-notifying the specific provisions of laws and regulations that implement the obligations set out in Articles 3, 4 and 5;
-notifying all intellectual property laws and regulations; or
-making a general statement that nationals of other WTO Members enjoyed non-discriminatory treatment, together with a list of any exceptions to that principle.
While his consultations had indicated that the Council might not be ready to take a formal decision on this matter, they did suggest that it would be helpful if the Secretariat were requested to prepare a format on the basis of these proposals which the Council could consider further with a view to making a decision at its meeting in November.